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RIAA Hands out more Lawsuits 689

Posted by samzenpus
from the everyone-sue dept.
Syrae writes "The RIAA has unleashed yet another round of copyright infringement lawsuits against 754 people. Evidently they still had some customers that they had to make an example of. I guess the RIAA never saw the study that says that file sharers spent more money buying music online than those who don't share music at all."
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RIAA Hands out more Lawsuits

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  • Stop right there. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GreyWolf3000 (468618) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @09:30PM (#13450707) Journal

    I guess the RIAA never saw the study that says that file sharers spent more money buying music online than those who don't share music at all.

    Not to sound harsh, but I guess the submitter never saw why the RIAA should care. They don't want anyone distributing unlicensed copies of music. It's illegal. Even if certain studies suggest a higher likelihood of legitimate purchases, going after individual infringers is well within their rights, and anyone would have to be blind not to understand why they feel this is in their best interest.

    As the submitter conceded, they're making an example.

    • They don't want anyone distributing unlicensed copies of music. It's illegal.

      The RIAA doesn't care about the legality of file sharing, they care about making money. If file sharing actually made them money (as submitter is trying to suggest) then it would be a poor business practice to attempt to stop it.

      Even if certain studies suggest a higher likelihood of legitimate purchases, going after individual infringers is well within their rights [...]

      Only because Congress gave them that right, which is a little
      • by tibike77 (611880)
        How many people fileshare (DC, BT, eDonkey, etc) ?
        Lots. Hundreds of millions, maybe.

        How many of those fileshare (some) illegal "stuff" ?
        Most of them, for sure. Even if it's only ONE music file that doesn't belong there, that's still illegal. Not necessarily imoral, but illegal.

        Now, on to the "making some money" part...
        IF (by some cosmic accident) it suddendly becomes LEGAL to share with the world everything you ever bought (or worse, everything you ever downloaded)... imagine how the number of sales would p
        • Absolutely, I agree. I just wanted to point out what the submitter was trying to illustrate. I have no doubt that the study submitter sited was biased toward whoever funded it (as most 'studies' seem to be).

          At any rate, there are exceptions to your post. I for instance, have absolutely no fear of ever being punished for my file sharing, yet media (music and videogames, I don't watch movies) is pretty much my only entertainment expense. I still buy music, not because I fear the consequences of coming int
      • If file sharing actually made them money (as submitter is trying to suggest) then it would be a poor business practice to attempt to stop it.

        But it doesn't really make them money now, does it? The submitter's wrong, and made an elementary mistake of statistics reasoning that would normally be jumped upon if anyone made it about any other subject here.

        The study pointed to does NOT claim that people who use P2P networks will subsequently buy more music as a result of doing so. It merely claims that peopl

    • I agree.
      But of course fiel sharers pay more. They pay about $3000 to settle out fo court.
  • LOL (Score:5, Interesting)

    by John Seminal (698722) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @09:31PM (#13450710) Journal
    I guess the RIAA never saw the study that says that file sharers spent more money buying music online than those who don't share music at all

    Not any more, not after the ridiculous penalties.

    BTW, How much is exactly one song worth when shared? If the music industry did not lose sales or money, then what are the damages? I thought there is a principle in law that says if you did not suffer damages, then you can not sue. For example, if I trip in front of your house on your property, but am not hurt, I can't sue because there was no harm.

    • "BTW, How much is exactly one song worth when shared? If the music industry did not lose sales or money, then what are the damages? I thought there is a principle in law that says if you did not suffer damages, then you can not sue. For example, if I trip in front of your house on your property, but am not hurt, I can't sue because there was no harm."

      An interesting question, but not relevant here. The RIAA tends to target the "whales" of file sharing who have thousands of songs in their share directori

    • IANAL. Yet. This is not legal advice.

      You are right in that actual damages have not been shown, and that there is a good probability that these actual damages don't even exist in many of these cases.

      However, copyright law is special in that the copyright holder has the option of pursuing statutory damages. As the name implies, these are damages assigned by statute (statute = law created by legislature). The relevant section of the law is pasted below, but these numbers are significant and are per wor
  • case details? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GenKreton (884088) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @09:31PM (#13450714) Journal
    Is there some place where people get a list of who is being named in these suits? I assume it is public information since it's our public court system.

    Just curious

    I would complain about my tax money going to pay for these cases in court but you only ever hear of debt collection agencies calling those in the suits now...

    • Re:case details? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot.uberm00@net> on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @10:09PM (#13450930) Homepage Journal
      The EFF [eff.org] used to have a searchable subpoena database [eff.org] but have shut that down now because the new suits are filed against anonymous persons, who are only revealed (if I understand it correctly, IANAL) after the courts have determined that the copyright infringement did in fact take place.
      • Re:case details? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kjella (173770)
        who are only revealed (if I understand it correctly, IANAL) after the courts have determined that the copyright infringement did in fact take place.

        I'm not a lawyer either, but that's not the case. The RIAA need a court order, which is the same as the police do. It is not a trial, the standard is not "guilty/not guilty" (criminal) or even "preponderance of evidence" (civil), it is "reasonable suspicion". US police used to have to do the same to get subscriber information until the Patriot act, most western
    • Re:case details? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Copperhead (187748)
      Probably not immediately, since the lawsuits are more often than not "John Doe at xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx IP" lawsuits.
  • Witch hunt (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nuclear Elephant (700938) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @09:31PM (#13450715) Homepage
    I guess the RIAA never saw the study that says that file sharers spent more money buying music online than those who don't share music at all.

    Since when did the RIAA care about the facts? They're not a morality organization, their only purpose is to generate revenue. Just like the SPA, MPAA, etc., these things start up as corporations run by high-powered attorneys. It's a great way to justify the existence of such an organization to the labels. As most people are already aware, the music industry wouldn't be what it is today without online file sharers who spend wads of cash buying legal music they ended up liking. Not trying to flame in the least bit - but why is everyone so surprised that an organization like this is defying all reason to pursue a bottom line?
  • So, they sue people that spend more money on music than the average.

    So these people stop spending in order to cover court costs, fees, pissed off, etc.

    RIAA notices that less people are spending money on music (it must be the filesharers) so they sue more people.
  • Futility? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by laughingcoyote (762272) <`moc.eticxe' `ta' `lwohtsehgrab'> on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @09:34PM (#13450737) Journal

    At first glance, this would seem futile.

    From TFA:

    The world's major record labels, represented by the Recording Industry Association of America, have filed more than 14,000 such lawsuits since September 2003.

    This is an infinitesimal percent of filesharers, estimated in the tens or hundreds of millions. For every person scared off by these tactics, two others will be angered into sharing more. I cannot imagine that they are not aware of that by now.

    Really, though, I don't think it is. I can't imagine the **AA's are really dumb enough to believe that this strategy will work-the one thing said about them that is untrue is that they are idiots. They have gotten away with massively unethical practices for a very long time, and idiots don't do that.

    This is, however, a way to keep them in the public eye while they desperately scramble for a way to regain control over distribution-which is their true goal. They're not losing money. Check their earnings reports. This is true despite the fact that they are consistently releasing garbage. But what they are losing is control over largescale methods of distribution. That's what they can't stomach.

    • "For every person scared off by these tactics, two others will be angered into sharing more. I cannot imagine that they are not aware of that by now."

      You can help them become aware of it by showing evidence that this is true. Do you have a citation? I've never met anybody who's been "angered into sharing more" upon hearing about litigation against pirates. Have you?

      "I can't imagine the **AA's are really dumb enough to believe that this strategy will work-the one thing said about them that is untru

  • Open WAP (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bios_Hakr (68586) <xptical.gmail@com> on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @09:37PM (#13450748) Homepage
    Just a silly question:

    What's to stop the defendant from claiming that they didn't download the files? If you run a WAP, there is virtually no way (short of them seizing your PC) for them to prove that you actually downloaded the files.

    With most techno-idiot judges, just claim the "hackers" used your wireless access point to download the files.
    • Re:Open WAP (Score:3, Informative)

      by DeepRedux (601768)
      The rules of civil court pretty much require that a defendant testify if they want to have any chance of winning the case. (Refusal to testify can be taken as evidence of guilt in a civil case.) So this defense would require affirmatively testify that they did not engage in the alleged file sharing.

      Lying under oath could land one in jail. I bet the RIAA would pay for investigators to try to find evidence of perjury and turn over the evidence to the US attorney for criminal prosecution.

  • by linuxhansl (764171) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @09:39PM (#13450764)
    Not because I am sharing or downloading music (which I don't) but because of the RIAA's actions.

    Anybody who does not agree with the RIAA's current actions, should do the same: Vote with your wallet.

    • And that's to spend your money on non-RIAA CDs. I suggest starting with http://www.cdbaby.com/ [cdbaby.com] they claim to be 100% indy, direct from artists to them to you. I cannot verify their claims, but my experience does not lead me to doubt them. You also might want to check out http://www.cdroots.com/ [cdroots.com]. They are a world music site. Note, however, they don't claim to be indy so you will want to check the labels to see if they are owned by RIAA members.

      The reason to do this is not just to get yourself music you enjoy
  • by JohnnyComeLately (725958) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @09:41PM (#13450776) Homepage Journal
    I bet you money they (the execs) used to drive old beat up cars in high school, with tape decks. In the tape decks were dubbed tapes with their favortite tunes recorded from FM radio or friends. Although it's nice to associate music with property (and the theft of such), but it's simply something people have been doing for decades.

    If you liked it, you went out and bought it. Now before you say, "Yeah, but digital lasts forever". Nope, CDs get scratched, p0rn sites unleash system infecting bots to delete, etc.

  • I'm one of the 754. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Moken (780202) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @09:45PM (#13450796) Homepage
    I got hit at the University of Missouri, Rolla and let me tell you, I never saw it coming. I'm pretty computer literate (CS major that codes alot of low-level stuff)... I thought that I was being careful by staying within the school's system (Samba shares) but they still got it. They were watching inside the network. I don't know how on earth they managed to do that, we have a pretty strict network policy. In the meantime, they dragged through it. I got caught May 5th, 2005, didn't find out until July... never got an action date 'til August. It was awful... although I did start getting music via AllofMP3 (still shady?)
    • by Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @10:06PM (#13450918)
      You might have had a rat Miner among you. Or a stooge among the administration. A Missouri Sunshine Act request asking for anything on cooperation agreements with copyright holders, what third parties are allowed access to the network, etc. should be in order. But they'd probably be able to dodge the request under the guise of "network security." Hope this doesn't screw you up -- and if the administration has let you off, you obviously don't want to be the one making any Sunshine Act requests. Good luck, and use USENET :).
    • by superyanthrax (835242) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @10:33PM (#13451060)
      It's quite possible there is a bounty hunter for the RIAA on your network. Those are people who get paid by the RIAA to expose file-sharers. I know for certain there are some at my school (Caltech), so I'm very careful when using file sharing services on my network.
    • You say you got "caught", as if you believe you were doing something wrong?

      Judging by all the rationalizations for copyright infringement listed on Slashdot every time the RIAA is mentioned, I can't imagine why you'd feel that way.
  • I just spent the last month downloading gigs and gigs of porn via LimeWire. No joke, I now have over 35Gb of porn. Yet, these guys are going after the music abusers??? I don't get it...

    Oh, and just in case the RIAA or MPAA or some other -AA organization sees this and wants to come after me... well I was never read my rights. Sorry. Fine away.

    PDA & Smartphone Optimized Sites [mobileoptimized.com]
    Replacing my laptop with a Treo [mobileoptimized.com]
  • by shark72 (702619) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @09:56PM (#13450853)

    "I guess the RIAA never saw the study that says that file sharers spent more money buying music online than those who don't share music at all."

    The study was no surprise. I've pirated music in the past. Today, I spend about $30 a month on the iTMS. My grandmother has never pirated music. She spends no money online for music. This is because she does not own a PC.

    Folks who've used file sharing software tend to buy music because they are Internet-savvy and they like music. Copyright infringement is not a prerequisite for buying music online! The important corelations are having a computer, familiarity with the Internet, and an appreciation for getting music via their PC. The music industry can find plenty of people who fall into that category without also falling into the "putting thousands of files into their share directory" category that tends to make people ripe for legal action.

    The record industry has acknowledged that they are using a "carrot and stick" approach toward curbing piracy. Apple has just sold their 50 millionth track, and the online music industry is still growing logarithmically. Their approach seems to be working just fine.

  • lost sales (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pintomp3 (882811)
    it's not about losing money, it's about losing control.
  • by gregor-e (136142) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @09:59PM (#13450876) Homepage
    With Yahoo Music providing access to over 1 million songs for $5/month I would think the damages that RIAA can claim are limited to whatever share Yahoo would have passed onto them if these file-sharers had gone legit with a subscription. Or am I just being naive?
    • With Yahoo Music providing access to over 1 million songs for $5/month I would think the damages that RIAA can claim are limited to whatever share Yahoo would have passed onto them if these file-sharers had gone legit with a subscription. Or am I just being naive?

      Well, not exactly. These people are being sued for their *distribution* of pirated music. So, if 1000 people downloaded tracks from the sharer, then that's 1000 $5 subscriptions that RIAA lost -- at least, that is what they claim in court. And t

  • by FlynnMP3 (33498) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @10:06PM (#13450916)
    Yes, I feel sorry for all those who got extorted by the RIAA. They are the few (soon not so few), the proud, the ones who will help change the system! The more lawsuits that come from those baffoons the more people will get pissed off and finally start giving a shit about how they are treated.

    Obviously, strong arm business tactics are alive and well. They never really left you know. Every great change in technology brought about decades worth of suffering of the people while the boneheaded ones finally benefitted in the end! Fair? Nope, not in the slightest. Who said life was fair?

    Puts a tear in me eye it does. *sniff*

    -FlynnMP3
  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @10:08PM (#13450923) Homepage
    One factor of supply and demand that is seemingly overlooked by all on the supply side is the demand for reasonable cost.

    We are in the midst of another artificially high "fuel crisis" where any change in the weather, good or bad, somehow means they need to raise the price of fuel. If there was truly a supply problem, the profits of the companies on the supply side wouldn't be earning record high profits. In the US, this is an illegal pricing tactic and somehow it's not being prosecuted... maybe because the US president has strong interests in the oil industry. I recall the fuel crisis of about 20+ years ago and how it ended... and more importantly, WHY it ended. It ended when alternative fuels started to catch on -- specifically "gasahol." It was really soon after gasahol started flowing from the pumps that the fuel crisis came to an inexplicable end, but before that time, it didn't prevent the supply side from doing everything it could to rape its customers.

    Back on topic, however, I see a demand for lower cost (read: better value) and the general responses we are seeing. We see what I consider to be "civil disobedience" even if it's technically not the correct expression for this situation. I don't consider it to be criminal as much as I consider it to be an expression that the supply side simply wants too much for something that is considered to have value... just not enough value to the people who would sooner get music this way.

    The RIAA's hostile response will be the fuel of change... change they will not like. Just as gasahol started to threaten the fuel industry, independants and online trade will flourish at the RIAA's expense no matter HOW many victims they claim. There will be no "lawsuit into submission."
    • "History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives." -- Abba Eban
    • "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." -- H L Mencken
    • "To make laws that man cannot, and will not obey, serves to bring all law into contempt." -- Elizabeth Cady Stanton


    Sadly, the RIAA continues to defy reality and believe that suing its customers will bring them back (damn, how many times you gotta BOMB people to make 'em stop HATING you?) when people are faced with an alternative source of music (illegal or not) that is more convenient, better suited to getting them what they want, and cheaper (either free or $1.00 a song).

    Unfortunately, I doubt that even the RIAA is so stupid or stupefyingly myopic that they can't see this, so I conclude that it's not about money. They want to be able to control you. They want control what you can listen to. They want to be able to stop anything new they can't pimp to enrich themselves.

    They are scared to death of the internet. They hate the idea that I can could pay $12-14 for 12-14 tracks of music that I know I like, as opposed to 2 good songs and 12 pieces of filler because that would force them to put out the effort to create more good music. They hate the idea of something that can be replicated with no physical effort, because those who make money off pressing CDs will be destroyed by it if they don't adapt. They are scared of change, and intent on pulling as many people down as they can.

    There's no question that the RIAA will be destroyed by the Internet. The only question is how many people with will take down with them.
    • The real reason it scares them is because it threatens to make them, the big labels, obslete. You see digital recording has gotten really cheap these days. You can build a home studio good enough to make professional sounding CDs for less than $5000 including computer, software, hardware, mics and room treatment. No, it won't be what you get at a real recording studio, but it'll be enough. That aside, you can buy time at more professional studios for amounts that most bands can afford, if they try.

      Well, pre
  • by kizzbizz (870017) <kizzer.gmail@com> on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @10:18PM (#13450977)
    Anybody who thinks that stealing a physcial CD is the same as stealing the intellectual property behind it is an absolutle stone cold idiot.

    It is literally, literally, comparing apples to oranges. Both are fruit, both are sweet, but they look and taste COMPLETLEY different. You wouldn't call them the same thing. Those people who are comparing it to people stealing a car/CD/etc. are the same people who believe that the RIAA is telling the truth when they say they've lost "xxx Billion Dollars in Sales" from those internet pirates.

  • by nathanh (1214) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @10:46PM (#13451114) Homepage
    I guess the RIAA never saw the study that says that file sharers spent more money buying music online than those who don't share music at all.

    Of course "they" saw the study. They're a huge association and I'd be shocked if the collective staff from all the member companies hadn't read every study ever written about music piracy. However "they" simply don't care. The RIAA's not concerned that pirates also purchase music because their profits aren't significantly affected by that tiny proportion of buyers. The RIAA's greatest fear is that if they turn a blind eye to the pirates then the practise of copying music will be legitimised in the eyes of the vast majority of their customers, aka normal people, and that the majority of customers will stop buying music.

    And that's why the RIAA uses pathetic copy prevention schemes, laughable studies and random lawsuits. They're not trying to convince YOU to stop copying. They know YOU will see through the bullshit and YOU will go to extreme lengths to circumvent the copy prevention. They know YOU are both incredibly smart (techwise) but also so lacking in common sense that you will risk having a criminal record to avoid spending $5 on a pressed CD from the bargain bin. They know YOU will spend countless hours reading websites and installing obscure software to get illegitimate copies of music.

    However YOU are not the target of all their efforts. They're trying to convince the other 99% of the population that copying music isn't worth the effort. And they're using several techniques in a "shotgun" approach to do that. They're using scare tactics, "copy and you'll be sued", and appeals to emotion, "copy music and little Jimmy will starve to death", and appeals to decency, "copying is plain immoral", and technical barriers to copying that thwart 99% of people, "don't hold down the shift key", and stomping out networks like Napster so the digital copies that are made by smarter pirates aren't widely circulated.

    There will always be criminals. The RIAA knows they can't stop them all. But they can deter the rest of the population from becoming criminals as well.

  • by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @10:59PM (#13451203)
    When I was young and foolish, before the days when you could back up your entire CD collection, I left a folder containing said collection in the back seat of my car. It was gone an hour later when I returned from a class.

    Since then I have managed to replace many of the CDs which were physically STOLEN from me, which I once rightfully owned and paid retail price for. I have a box full of album sleeves and cover art to prove it.

    I don't think I'm stealing anything whatsoever by downloading replacement copies of CDs I used to own. I'm not sure I am even guilty of copyright infringement. I used to have a right to play all that music, whenever I pleased. Was that right somehow erased when my car was broken into?

    I wonder if my entire CD collection had instead been washed away in a hurricane or destroyed by fire. If we are to believe the RIAA stance that I owned a "license to listen", I would hope that physical loss of my actual media permits me to re-acquire and re-create that media using filesharing.

  • by FFFish (7567) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @11:05PM (#13451235) Homepage
    If we can find out who these people are and put them in contact with that groovy lawyer for the woman who made news last week re: fighting back, plus sent in the cost of a single CD to that lawyer to help offset expenses... why, shit, we might have a revolution at hand.

    For a few bucks each, we can help make RIAA's life a living hell.

    Good entertainment value there!
  • by the_REAL_sam (670858) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @11:16PM (#13451302) Journal
    What's so difficult about that? RIAA wants to be greedy and use the law (in "merciless?" ways) to bolster greed.

    Share only free music and they cannot hurt you. With free music you give free publicity to unknown's and locals, and, more importantly, to those who are giving their stuff for free.

    There is enough free music out there that we simply don't need "big media" record industry or anything that it sells.

    If people would wake up to that, the RIAA would deservedly die off like the embodiment of greed that it is.

  • by Kaenneth (82978) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @11:44PM (#13451432) Homepage Journal
    Lets take, as a random example, from amazon, 'The Matrix' (I havn't looked it up before writing this)

    The movie itself on DVD: $14.97

    The Matrix: Original Motion Picture Score [SOUNDTRACK]: $16.98

    So, just the music part of the audio, not even the spoken words of the actors costs $2.01 more than the Digital Video, Audio in Dolby 5.1, Bonus Features, and all, of the DVD version.

    Audio CD albums should generally be sold for $5 in little cheap cardboard sleeves

    At the current insane prices I have bought 1 boxed set of CD's for $20 in the last year. If they cut their prices to $5 I would probably buy at least 1 CD a week. It's pretty simple, at 1/5 the profit per disc, but selling 50 times as many discs, profits multiply by 10.

    Music stores would have much higher sales volume and albums would go 'gold' and 'platinum' a lot quicker. The main problem I forsee is the waste produced by making CD's more disposable, but that could be solved by a good recycling program.

    As handy as iTunes might be, there is a good quote; "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes"; a truckload of CD's heading to the music store is a more efficent than pumping bits through the internet.
  • by CherniyVolk (513591) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @12:39AM (#13451687)

    Musicians want their music heard. Whether or not they get paid, they want their music heard. Some musicians, and bands, PAY OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKET for air time on local radio stations.

    Downloading an mp3, even if it's from a known musician is NOT stealing. I don't give a hoot what you think the law says, or what it actually says for that matter. The law in this regard is supposed to reflect the feelings of the composers and performers... now, take this scenerio...

    You approach Madonna, and say, "Wow, I've listened to all your songs and I'm a huge fan." Hell will freeze over before Madonna demands proof of purchase, or even ask, "Did you buy my CDs or did you just sit by a radio all day long?" About the ONLY thing we might hear a musician pitch is, "Oh, the T-Shirt stand is over there..."

    As a musician myself. I will NEVER accept any notion saying that downloading an mp3 is either wrong, or illegal. I'll tell a judge to his face that he and his court is insignificant and irrelevant, without acute vision of the issue at hand then walk the hell out of the court room.
    • I'm sure you are a musician and I'm sure you're speaking earnestly, for yourself. Musicians are people, and just like regular people there are ALL types. Idealists, realists, kooks, those driven for success, etc.

      I happen to run a free internet radio program so I have the honor of talking to a fairly wide variety of musicians, most of which are happy to do what they can to get their music heard (I'm not doing the site for profit so I ask permission to play the tracks sans royalties, etc; bandwidth already
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:09AM (#13452423)
    I'm no fan of the RIAA (or its equivalent in the UK, the BPI) but to all those of you who think the RIAA is doing something wrong, why don't you get up from behind your computer screens and *actively* do something to fight back?

    How about just *not buying* any DVDs or CDs? How about emailing the RIAA, the film producers and the record companies and tell them you're not buying their products because they're overpriced?

    It doesn't matter how many times this discussion appears on Slashdot, the RIAA is not going to take a blind bit of notice until people start to hit them where it really hurts - in the wallet.

    I personally use music downloading as a "try before I buy scheme" now - if I like it, I buy it because nothing beats having a nice shiny CD in a nice shiny case with some nice music on it; otherwise I delete it because it's just not worth the space on a hard disk or CDR.

    With movies, I read reviews and go to the cinema or buy the DVD only when I am sure it's worth the money.

    In both cases, rip-off high street stores like HMV or Virgin get *none* of my money unless they have prices that compete with on-line music and movie vendors.

    As a result, I spend about 1/3 of what I used to spend on CDs, movies and DVDs and I'm now much happier with what I buy.

    Unfortunately, it's the "sheeple" of the world that just sit there blindly consuming everything the music and movie companies churn out that are the problem - if we were all a lot more careful with what we spent our money on, this would send a very powerful message back to these companies and allow us, the consumer, to dictate what are fair prices and what we deem good quality products.

  • by gallondr00nk (868673) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:17AM (#13452443)
    For Gods sake, file sharing isn't all about stealing the latest Mariah Carey album. If you want to avoid being prosecuted, stop downloading music published by the big multinationals, EMI, RCA, Time-warner, etc. etc. You aren't missing out on anything. 90% of my collection is from artists who aren't signed up to this draconion bullshit, and it's a damn sight better then any of the trash the major labels are trying to spew onto me. With the moving of p2p into the mainstream the RIAA only exists to scare off warez kiddies, who have enough money to buy the albums anyway. If you buy into the corporation, you have to live with it. Same goes for anyone who downloads material from them. Just say no kids. Get it on tape instead
  • Framing the debate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chris Snook (872473) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:21AM (#13452455)
    Repeat after me: "Unlicensed copying is not theft."

    Really. Unlicensed copying is not theft. Nor is personal downloading piracy. Piracy, in matters of copyright, is when you sell unlicensed copies of a work, thereby denying the authorized publisher and the author revenue from customers who without question would have made a purchase, as they purchased it from you. Congress has never passed a law explicitly criminalizing personal downloading, and if they actually intended for a law which provides for $250,000 fines to apply to copying a $15 CD, once, then that law would certainly fail the "cruel and unusual punishment" clause. This isn't just me talking, you'll see comments to this effect in several judicial rulings related to copyright infringement.

    I'm seeing comments in this thread trying to compare the freeloaders to people who actually break into someone's house and steal their stuff. That's not what's going on here at all. The recording industry has engaged in a long term effort to brainwash us all into believing that it is a matter of natural law that we do not have the right to copy information. In fact, the clause in the constitution explicitly permitting copyrights and patents reflect that those who crafted the constitution saw that as a matter of natural law we should be able to do whatever we please with our information, and Congress had to be explicitly authorized to restrict this. Copying can be fair use, or it can be civil or criminal infringement.

    So, why are they trying to crack down on the very same downloading that's driving revenue? It's all about power. They want to control everything you do with their content. They want to ram DRM down your throat so far that you can't play any content that they or their allies have not (cryptographically) signed, which implies any content produced by someone they have not contractually signed. Extreme laws are passed only in response to perceived emergencies, so they're creating an emergency.
  • by Psyqlone (681556) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @09:18AM (#13453430)

    1. The MPAA and RIAA are NOT ARTISTIC ASSOCIATIONS!

    This merits repeating. The MPAA and RIAA are NOT ARTISTIC ASSOCIATIONS!

    Admittedly, they are "industry" organizations, but this also implies that they represent industry interests, which are not always the same as artists' interests. In both cases, you've got lawyers and legal staffers, who serve the interests of distribution companies, financiers, studios, you get the idea.

    2. The MPAA and RIAA exist in large measure to perpetuate and protect obsolete business models. It's partially driven (obscured?) by goals of being able to exact revenue from each viewing, each session, each "show". In their minds, this was the way it's supposed to work. I'd like to think they're bright enough to realize they can't keep doing business in quite the same way, but they can't even see which way they are going. It isn't only the technology they don't understand, but those "suits" don't understand the nature of offering the sort of entertainment that makes audiences want to see more, but not necessarily more of the same.

    3. ...lest we forget, the entertainment industry moved to California first to dodge their creditors in the east, secondly to avoid paying tax debts, but also to avoid paying royalties to Thomas Edison. Edison and company invented the production and post-production equipment on which the American film and sound recording industries modified to their own specifications.

    Of course the less polite version alleges that they ripped off Edison outright. ...can't be as morally reprehensible as copyright infringement, right?

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